21 September 2011
This year the World Championships Cycling take place in Denmark.
Copenhagen is the city where riders from across the world come together.
It is the fifth time in history that the Danish get to host this annual event.
The first time was in 1931, when Learco Guerra won for Italy.
Remarkably, in the three times after that you can see a pattern.
In 1937 only eight riders finished the Professional Road Race.
The fastest rider that year was Eloi Meulenberg.
The next World Championships in Copenhagen were held in 1949.
That year Rik van Steenbergen managed to win the Road Race.
He must have felt very much at home in the Danish city,
because in 1956 he won the Worlds again in Copenhagen.
Meulenberg and van Steenbergen, both Belgium riders.
Three of the four times that the men’s road race was held in Copenhagen,
a rider from Belgium got to go home with the golden medal.
Will the pattern be broken this time around?
Philippe Gilbert is the current leader in the WorldTour ranking.
He has already got more than twenty victories this season,
which makes it the most ‘outstanding’ season of his career
and him, consequently, the ultimate rider to beat at the Worlds.
But what’s more important is that Gilbert is a Belgian rider.
He could be the one to keep the pattern alive.
But being one of the favorites for the win puts
a massive pressure on a person which could make them weaker.
So far Philippe Gilbert has been able to put up with that,
because even though he had a ‘tough day without any help
from his team’ at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec,
he still managed to win the race and add another classic to his list.
Not only Gilbert is a favorite for the world title…
Thor Hushovd wants to try and prolong his title.
Mark Cavendish is determined to become the new world champion.
Peter Sagan, Oscar Freire and André Greipel could be able to win as well.
However, after the last editions everyone knows
that it’s hard to predict who is going to be the winner.
This year’s world champion could be another complete surprise.
Next Sunday we will know how this piece of history continues.
Will Philippe Gilbert put the cherry on his season’s cake?
Who knows? After all, another Belgian rider could also make the pattern last.